Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

A Visit to The GIA

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Earlier this year, my husband and I were on vacation in San Diego and I took the chance to visit the GIA (the Gemological Institute of America), something that had been on my wish list for quite some time. Their headquarters facility, which houses their lab (where they do diamond grading, gemstone certification, pearl classification, etc.), school, museum and library, is located in Carlsbad, about an hour or so north of San Diego. The GIA is right on the coastline, beautifully situated a little bit up on a hill with unobstructed views of the ocean.

The museum is open to anyone who wants to visit, and they offer tours every weekday. You have to call at least 24 hours ahead to sign up, but I recommend calling at least 48 hours in advance (when I called the day before I wanted to visit, they were already booked for private tours, so I signed up for one two days later).

It’s not huge, but very interesting, and a fun visit if you’re into gemstones. Make sure to bring your ID – you won’t get in without it. The guard at the entrance to the parking lot will take it and run a check (it seemed like a pretty thorough one, he was gone for quite a while).

Once you’re in, you enter the huge lobby with floor to ceiling windows with gorgeous views of the ocean and a few glass cases with gemstones, etc (my favorite was the one with tiny pieces of stones in every color you can imagine – so pretty, and educational too!). (Click on the photos to see them larger)

We were a group of around 8 (from mixed backgrounds; two were scientists, others “just” gemstone fans like me, some in the business of making and selling jewelry, etc.) who met up with our charming guide Peggy. Peggy started the tour by taking us outside to show the enormous 1-ton Swarovski crystal octahedron (the largest in the world) in the “Tower of Brilliance”, which apparently glows like magic in the sun (unfortunately we didn’t get to see that; it was cloudy when we were there) and told us a bit about the background of the school.

We then went back inside and went from a giant 800 lb piece of rock crystal quartz (4.7 feet high!) with spectacular rutilation to the cafe/museum part, and then for a walk through the school, where gemstone, diamond and mineral exhibits are mounted on the walls all around.

The tour took about 1 ½ hours, and we both really enjoyed it. I knew much of what was covered already, but my husband learned many new things, and we saw a lot of gorgeous gemstones. If you’re in the area and are looking for something different to do one day, I highly recommend it!

All content (incl. photos, layout and design) © Charms Guide


Green Jewelry Designs: Living Pendants

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

This time of year, I always start longing for a house in the country, or at least a house of my own with a garden where I could grow vegetables and herbs and spend sunny afternoons weeding and pruning and picking homegrown lettuce for a dinner salad. Maybe one day… for now, I’m in an apartment in a large city, and the only green around me are the trees in neighboring yards.

To add a bit more living nature to my life, I have house plants and plans for a windowsill herb garden. But I recently found another awesome way to add more greenery to my everyday life: plant jewelry. Crafty (and green-thumbed) jewelry designers have come up with a variety of styles that admittedly do need a little bit of maintenance (some are to be watered on a regular basis; others should get just the right amount of sun to stay healthy), but that’s a small price to pay to be closer to nature! 🙂

Here are some fabulous finds:

1. Self-sustaining terrarium curve necklace from With Roots

2. Tiny handmade pendant vase for use with any plant of your choice. By Melinda Cunningham of Nature’s Adornments Pottery Studio

3. Short-lived, but very pretty (and an easy DIY) flower petal necklace. Idea and photo from Manekis pärlblogg

4. Maintenance free silver and plexiglass “twigs and moss” terrarium pendant by Tiny Terrains

5. The bold statement pieces from the Invenki line by Viola Living Jewels are made from a variety of metals, stones, feathers, and fairly sizeable plants

6. Potted succulent in a tiny handcrafted pendant pot (other plants are also available) from Recologies

7. The translucent acrylic polymer planter by Colleen Jordan works for both tiny cut sprigs and flowers as well as plants (you add the greenery yourself)

8. The wedding favor plant pendants from GemSprouts are created with recycled plastic and organically grown plants

9. The silver and Icelandic moss necklace by Hafsteinn Juliusson looks like a little window box – so cute!


Authentic Pandora Charms And Bracelets vs. Pandora Style Beads

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

If the old adage “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” is true, then Pandora should feel very flattered. If you have ever shopped for Pandora charms online, you know that there are literally millions of sites out there offering “authentic Pandora charms”. But are they? How can you be sure that what you’re buying is indeed an authentic Pandora bracelet or charm? I have received a LOT of questions regarding this, so I thought I would dedicate an entire post to the subject, in question and answer format:

How Can You Tell Authentic Pandora Beads From “Pandora Style” Beads And Charms?

All Pandora beads are made from sterling silver, 14 or 18k gold, so anything else is not authentic. In addition, everything is stamped with:

  • A Maker’s mark (ALE, which stands for Pandora’s founder’s Dad, Algot Enevoldsen)
  • A Quality mark (S for silver, G for gold). Note: this is a more recent addition so if your older beads, like mine to the right here, do not have it, that doesn’t mean they’re fakes
  • A Purity code (925 for sterling silver, 585 for 14k gold and 750 for 18k gold)

Unfortunately, many of the fake Pandora beads and charms on the market also have these markings, so to be absolutely sure that you are buying an authentic piece, shop at a Pandora store or one of their authorized online sellers.

Can You Find Authentic Pandora Charms And Bracelets On Sale? How About Other Pandora Specials?
Pandora charms do not go on sale. But authorized retailers often have Trunk Shows and other special events where you get a free something with purchase (like a free bracelet with the purchase of x number of beads or x dollars spent).

How About Retired Pandora Charms And Beads? Do They Go On Sale?
No, retired charms and beads are sold at their regular prices, no less, and not any more either. If you see Pandora beads advertised as retired and the seller is asking a higher price because they are “collectibles”, be careful.

Can We (The General Public) Buy Authentic Pandora Beads Wholesale?
There are quite a few sites that supposedly offer this, but no, we can not (only authorized retailers can).

Is It Possible To Find New Authentic Pandora Charms On eBay?
Yes, if they are pre-owned. Pandora does not authorize any of their retailers to sell on eBay (or other auction sites). People can of course sell beads and charms from their own collections, and these can obviously be authentic Pandora charms. If you find yourself in a situation where you want to buy a pre-owned bead, the best thing to do is to contact the seller, strike up a conversation, ask lots of questions, ask to see photos of the bead taken from all angles, and trust your gut instinct. If it’s a charm that is still being sold, compare the photos you get from the eBay seller to the ones on Pandora’s site and check for any discrepancies. Remember that pre-owned beads are not covered by any warranties.

Should I Buy Pandora Charms Online At All?
Yes, but make sure the seller is an authorized Pandora retailer.

Telltale Signs Of “Pandora Style Beads And Bracelets”
It’s easy enough when the seller openly advertises that what they sell is “Pandora style” but there are many out there who try to pass fakes off as genuine Pandora charms and bracelets. Price is an indication, but what else?

I did a quick Google search for “authentic Pandora charms cheap” and ended up with close to 250,000 results. Some were honest about the fact that they sell fakes, but many were not. Granted, the quality of some of these sites would be indication alone that what they’re selling is not the real thing (one site I looked at had even misspelled Pandora!), but there are also some pretty slick sites where customers could easily be fooled. The bracelets are photographed in a Pandora box where you clearly see the logo, and their charms even have the correct Pandora hallmarks. Sometimes it becomes clear that they are fakes if you read the fine print on the page, but not always. My advice? Read the small print everywhere on the site, look at the quality, compare what you see with what’s listed on Pandora’s own website, and again, trust your instincts. If you think the site is selling fakes, don’t shop there. In fact, you should report them to Pandora.

Pandora Compatible Beads
NOT fakes. It is openly advertised in the name that they are Pandora compatible beads – charms that fit Pandora bracelets, but not Pandora brand charms. They are not fakes, just other brands (it could be Chamilia, Trollbeads, or no-name charms, etc.”) that work with the Pandora charm bracelets, and they can be of just as high quality as the brand name charms.

So, in conclusion: you can take your chances with non-authorized sellers or save a bit of money (usually) by going with Pandora compatible beads, but if you want to be 100% sure that you’re buying an authentic Pandora charm, your best bet is to go with an authorized seller, either online or in a shop.


Blossom Copenhagen – New Fabulous Charms (And Other Jewelry) From Denmark

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: What is it about Denmark and style? There is so much beautiful design in general, and jewelry in particular, coming out of that country (Pandora, Trollbeads, Lovelinks, Ole Lyngaard, Skagen, etc.). One of the newest brands to emerge, and one that I like a lot, is Blossom Copenhagen.

Launched in May of 2011, Blossom Copenhagen features six collections of interchangeable charms and pendants (as well as leather wrist wraps, necklaces and earrings) designed by Christina Lihn, who previously was at Georg Jensen. As I noted in my article about Ole Lyngaard, flexible jewelry seems to be a huge, enduring trend in Danish design, and here we see it again.

The charms and pendants are all created from Christina’s hand drawn sketches, using traditional goldsmith techniques. The designs have an organic, but soft, feel to them, and the marketing materials (and overall look of the brand) has that delicately feminine and nostalgic “French country / shabby chic” look that is so popular in home decor both in Scandinavia.

Falling in love you & I

A recurring theme is hearts – all the collections include at least one heart charm, and Christina herself says “I am a true romantic and I design jewellery for women who love a feminine touch. My favourite symbol is the heart, and that is the focal point of the entire collection”.

Romantic Discovery

I especially like the “Falling in love you & I” – a different and unique take on the heart charm necklace (and the little charms can hold tiny items), and the hot air balloon-inspired pendants in the Romantic Discovery collection.

So far, they are available in Denmark, the UK, the Netherlands and Australia, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before they arrive in the US (or at least with an online retailer. I hope I’m right – they’re so pretty, and affordable too. The most expensive piece retails for the equivalent of $130.

All photos: Blossom Copenhagen


The New Pandora Charms (and more) For Spring And Summer 2012

Monday, March 26th, 2012

The new Pandora spring/summer collection for 2012 was just released with a bunch of new beads and rings, as well as a few earrings and pendants. The recurring themes in all of them are flowers and hearts. And the possibility to mix and match – clip beads can be used as pendants, the rings can be stacked, etc.

Beads
The new bead collection consists of lots of sterling silver charms (the camera bead is a favorite), several with dangles (love those!), some with cubic zirconias or enamel, and a few mixed metal.

There are three new gold charms (my favorite is this clip with a dogwood flower set with a black diamond) and several very pretty Murano glass beads in “happy colors” and two different designs – the subtle “looking glass”, and the retro-feeling “Stepping stones” beads.

Pendants
There are 7 new pendants, 6 in silver with various stones (spinel, rhodolite, Quartzite, etc.), one mixed metal, and one in 14k gold with a white opal. They are all gorgeous and I’d be hard pressed to choose a favorite, but if I had to pick just one, it would have to be the the mixed metal – it’s sterling silver and 14k gold with a pretty, feminine and understated flower-carved mother of pearl.

Earrings
The new earrings collection (four in sterling silver with stones and two mixed metal) features three new stud designs (which match some of the pendants), three earring charms (also matching) and one pair of silver and 14k gold ear wires with a pretty little flower and loops to hang charms from.

Rings
The new ring collection is so pretty! It consists of 12 sterling silver rings set with birthstones, 5 sterling silver and 5 mixed metal rings that match the pendants (yes, there is one that matches that adorable flower mother of pearl) and two gold. Most of the rings can be stacked.

There are also some new watches, but to be perfectly honest, I never wear a watch, so I’m not really interested in those.

In conclusion, it’s a very pretty collection, spring-inspired both in colors and designs, and price-wise, there is something for every budget, from (the surprisingly affordable) $20 spacers and $25 sterling silver beads to the $720 gold dogwood flower clip above.

All photos: Pandora


Guinea Pig Charms And Pendants

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

In honor of March being Adopt a Guinea Pig Month, I thought we’d do a post featuring Guinea Pig charms and pendants. I love guinea pigs, they are so adorable, friendly and personable. It’s so cute how they start “talking” to you (more like squeaky happy little guinea pig sounds) as soon as you walk into the room, and how they sometimes jump straight up in the air (“popcorning”) when they are excited or happy.

Guinea Pigs, whose scientific name is Cavia porcellus, (they are often called Cavies) originated in South America where they were domesticated around 5000 BC already (although not so much for their cuteness but as a food source). The Peruvian Moche people worshipped them and often depicted them in their art, and statues of Guinea Pigs dating back to 500 BC to 500 AD have been found in both Peru and Ecuador.

They made their way to Europe in the 1500s where they became popular pets (Queen Elizabeth 1 of England was very fond of them). Today, they are popular all over the world, and it is estimated that there are around 3.5 million guinea pigs kept as pets in the US.

Unfortunately, many of those pets end up in shelters for a variety of reasons – changing family and living situations, unplanned guinea pig babies, lack of time, failure to understand the extent of the commitment of owning a pet before getting one, etc. It is such a shame, because guinea pigs really are wonderful pets, quite low-maintenance, and so much fun.

Typical guinea pig life expectancy is around five to seven years (although they can live longer) and they are very social animals (they live in large herds in the wild), so if you consider adopting, please don’t get just one, your cavy needs a friend.

They will need a large cage with a solid floor to live in, toys to play with and a house to hide in, bedding to sleep on, and lots of time to exercise outside of the cage. Their diet should consist of lots of top quality hay, pellets (especially made for guinea pigs) and a variety of vegetables, especially those that contain a lot of vitamin C – guinea pigs do not produce vitamin C on their own, but they need it for their survival. The ASPCA has lots of great information about caring for guinea pigs, and a downloadable pdf with care tips.

If you are interested in adopting (or fostering) guinea pigs, contact your local shelter or go to Petfinder.com and type in your zip code to search for available pets in your area.

Collage by Charms Guide

1. Sterling silver necklace with a tiny handmade guinea pig charm by California artist Sue of Lulu Bug Jewelry

2. 3D charms in 14k yellow or white gold from Esquivel & Fees

3. Sterling silver necklace with a trigger clasp pendant by Graham Gillett. From The Winking Cavy

4. Sterling silver charm bead (fits most European-style bracelets) by Ohm

5. Sterling silver clip-on charm from Charms by Carol

6. Custom-made (from your photo), hand painted Polymer clay charm by Michigan artist Jen of Blue Desert Rose

7. Pendant with a Beatrix Potter illustration of gardening guinea pigs by Funck Love Designs

8. Fused glass pendant with a tiny painting of a guinea pig. Handmade by Canadian artist Fanny Dallaire

9. Stainless steel Italian charm bracelet link by Clearly Charming

10. Sterling silver necklace with a hand detailed guinea pig pendant by Rochester-based artist and metalsmith Mary Walke

All content: © Charms Guide


March Birthstone Charms And Pendants – Aquamarine

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

In the modern tradition, the birthstone for March is the gorgeous Aquamarine (in the mystical tradition it’s Jade and in all others Bloodstone – more on those in separate posts).

Morganite, Aquamarine and Heliodor

Aquamarine is a member of the Beryl family, which also includes Emeralds (green), Morganite (pink – purple), Heliodor (yellow), Goshenite (Clear) and Bixbite (red, very rare). Pure beryl has no color – these stones get their different hues from impurities, and in the case of Aquamarine it comes from iron. The stones are also almost always heat treated which enhances the blue color by removing some of the green and/or yellow that may be present.

The word Aquamarine comes from the Latin aqua (water) and mare (sea) and it certainly is an apt description of the colors of these stones, which range from a pale light blue to deep greenish hues. They are fairly abundant and are mainly mined in Brazil, but also in Madagascar, India, Nigeria, Russia, China and the US.

The stones can come in huge sizes and it is not unusual to see large cut aquamarines of 40 – 50ct. Aquamarines can be quite affordable, but the price of course depends on size and quality. Greenish-blue ones with lots of inclusions are at the lowest end of the price scale, while clear (no inclusions), intensely sky and dark blue stones usually fetch the highest prices. Having said that, beryl sometimes have inclusions that produce rare asterism (star) and cat’s eye effects, and aquamarines with either of those can be quite costly.

Aquamarine Healing Properties

Aquamarines are said to protect seafarers, enhance communication, help you stick to your goals in life, become less self-centered, alleviate depression and anxiety, calm fears, promote tranquility and a light heart and boost creativity and intuition. Holding an aquamarine while meditating helps you focus and go deeper into the meditation. It is also believed to help with the immune system (allergies), the thymus gland, spleen, heart, throat, lymph nodes, eye inflammation, arthritis, and varicose veins.

In addition to being the birthstone of March, it is the planetary stone for Pisces, the state gem for Colorado, the birthstone for October in the Roman, Hebrew and Arabic tradition, and the 19th wedding anniversary stone.

I love aquamarine and always carry a small rondelle with me when I’m not wearing aquamarine jewelry – I find it calms and centers me, especially when I hold it in my hand. Give it try yourself and see what you experience.

As usual, I have selected a few favorite aquamarine charms and pendants:

Collage by Charms Guide

1. Handmade sterling silver and aquamarine necklace pendant by Colorado-based artist Nancy Green

2. Sterling silver Donatella flower charm with an aquamarine dangle. From Macy’s

3. Handmade sterling silver and aquamarine Tree of Life pendant by Florida-based artist Miss M. Turner of Phoenix Fire Designs

4. Vintage 14k gold bracelet with amethysts and aquamarines from Ross-Simons

5. Handmade silver and aquamarine owl charm by British silversmith and artist Caroline of Little Bird Studio 22

6. 14k white gold necklace with an aquamarine and diamond flower pendant from Angara

7. Copper, tin and brass Hamsa hand talisman with aquamarine, glass and Swarovski Crystals. From AmuletGifts.com

8. 14k gold and aquamarine bead charm from Pandora

9. Tiny sterling silver and aquamarine charm from The Black Bow

10. Handmade hammered sterling silver and aquamarine pendant by TatianaG

All content: © Charms Guide


February Birthstone Charms And Pendants – Amethyst

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Amethyst is a member of the Quartz family. Quartz is a mineral, the most abundant on earth, and not only does it make up around 12% of the earth’s crust, it is everywhere. Even those of us who are not living under a rock 🙂 have quartz all around, perhaps without realizing it. Your TV, computer, watch, cell phone and granite kitchen counter top all contain quartz.

Quartz is commonly divided in two groups – Macrocrystalline (which has visible individual crystals) and Cryptocrystalline (which has crystals you need a microscope to see, sometimes also called Microcrystalline). Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz, and it is part of the Macrocrystalline group.

Amethyst is the birthstone for February (except for in the Mystical tradition, where it is Bloodstone. We will cover Bloodstone in the March birthstone post, because it is the birthstone for March in several other traditions), the astrological birthstone for Aquarius, Pisces, and Sagittarius and the 4th, 6th and 17th wedding anniversary gemstone. It has been known and used “forever”, and it was one of the stones in the breastplate of Aaron. It is mainly found in Brazil; other locations include the US (Arizona), Canada, Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay, Germany, India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Namibia, Zambia and Russia.

Amethyst

Amethysts range in color from pale pinkish purple to deep violet and they are the most popular of the quartzes. In spite of that, they are very affordable (the darker the stone, the more expensive it is, generally), and if you’re shopping for the high end variety, you want to look for nice, clear transparent stones without inclusions (i.e. things like bubbles, crystals, graininess, cracks etc. inside the stone). In jewelry, you most often find them faceted or cabochon cut.

Amethysts are sometimes heat treated to alter the color slightly, and when lighter varieties are exposed to heat, they “turn into” citrine (so most citrine on the market is amethyst that has been heat treated).

Amethyst Folklore

The ancient Greeks thought amethyst could prevent intoxication and instill a sober mind. The name comes from the Greek “amethustos”, which means “not drunk”. In traditional dramatic Greek fashion, there is the story of Bacchus (a.k.a. Dionysus) and the young maiden Amethyst. A mortal had insulted Bacchus, who as revenge decided to let tigers go after the next human who happened to come along. It turned out the be Amethyst on her way to worship the Goddess Diana. Diana knew of Bacchus’ plan and to spare Amethyst turned her into a quartz pillar, which made Bacchus so remorseful that he wept tears of wine, which turned the now quartz pillar Amethyst purple.

Amethyst Healing Properties

Amethyst is one of the most important stones in crystal healing, believed to get rid of negativity and promote a more positive view on life, protect its wearer, aid in meditation, help when going through major life changes, heal a broken heart and make the wearer able to trust others and fall in love again.

It also helps with addictions, stress, nightmares, insomnia, anger, grief, and feelings of being victimized. On a physical level, it alleviates arthritis and balances the thyroid, helps with headaches and strengthens the skeleton.

And it might be worth it to invest in some amethyst jewelry even if it’s not your birthstone. Crystal Energy Therapist Karen Ryan says “If you could choose only one crystal to wear for healing, Amethyst is the one – it heals all things at all levels”.

Luckily, there are tons of gorgeous pieces to choose from. Here are some of my recent favorite amethyst charm and pendant finds:

Collage by Charms Guide

1. Sterling silver and amethyst clip-on charm from Pia Jewellery

2. Antique Victorian 15 and 18k gold and amethyst pendant (can also be worn as a brooch). From Fourtané Estate Jewelers

3. This is such a unique pendant! A slice of swirly Oco geode with an amethyst “focal point” set in sterling silver. By Glimmering Gems

4. Sterling silver and amethyst charm from The Black Bow

5. 18k white gold raja Meditation bell clip-on charm, set with black diamonds and amethysts. By Paul Morelli

6. Oxidized Pandora silver charm bead set with 3 amethysts

7. Sterling silver necklace with amethyst bear charm by Honeywild

8. 18k gold amethyst “Sweet Drop” charm (with one tiny diamond) by Ole Lynggaard Copenhagen

9. Small antique (ca 1900) Edwardian suffragette pendant in 14k gold set with an amethyst, a peridot and 22 diamonds. From The Three Graces

10. Customized sterling silver and amethyst charm by Lauren Grace

All content: © Charms Guide


The New Trollbeads Spring Collection 2012

Friday, February 10th, 2012


As promised in the last Trollbeads news post, the spring collection was just around the corner, and I’m happy to announce that it has arrived!

It’s a fun, playful and pretty collection, consisting of 15 sterling silver beads, 1 gold, 1 mixed metal, lots of glass (in pretty shades of brown/beige and white as well as bright spring colors), and 2 gemstone (ruby and smoky quartz) beads, 1 onyx gemstone bead kit, 1 new clasp, and 3 tassel beads (love the snowdrop tassel bead pictured below) .

The “fun” category includes the whimsical sterling silver cake form, tea and coffee cup beads designed by multi-talented silversmith Lone Løvschal (who also designs beautiful silver tableware, utensils, and her own line of jewelry). The playful includes two adorable baby bunny beads, and the pretty includes all the glass (in my opinion), especially the tassel beads.

This collection also introduces a new Trollbeads designer, Lars Sögaard, who designed three of the silver beads.

Here is a little collage of my favorites in this collection:

Photos: Trollbeads Universe
Collage: Charms Guide

Don’t miss the new Trollbeads Holiday Collection!


Heart Charms And Pendants

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought a post about heart shaped jewelry would be in order.

The Heart – An Ancient Symbol

The heart as a symbol was used as far back as 10,000 BC, although scientists are not exactly sure what it symbolized at that time. In more recent civilizations, it was long believed that thoughts, reasoning and the soul were housed in the heart, and in ancient Egypt, the heart was not only the center of life, but morality and character as well, and your heart was judged to determined your future in the afterlife. The Egyptian Book of the Dead illustrates how after death, a person’s heart is taken to the judgment area and put on a scale opposite the feather of Maat. If the heart was lighter than the feather, the person was all set to enjoy whatever came after, but if it was heavy with sin, the heart would be eaten by the demon Ammit and the person would cease to exist. (so dramatic!)

But why is the heart symbol shaped the way it is? It doesn’t look anything like an actual human heart. And why do we associate that shape with love?

There are many (possible) explanations: Some say it’s because it resembles several different female body parts (use your own imagination here); some claim it is because of a vision Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque had in the 1600s (although that one doesn’t really hold up, because there are stained glass windows with heart symbols that way predates that – maybe she was just commenting on the decor!); it has also been suggested that it’s the heart in the Book of the Dead that inspired it (although I personally think that looks more like an urn or sometimes an actual anatomical heart, but…).

Then there is the theory of the Silphium plant. The seeds from this now extinct variety of wild fennel are shaped just like the heart symbol we use today, and they were widely used as a natural contraceptive. The plant grew in Cyrene (an ancient Greek colony where Libya is today), and was a great source of income for the area. It was extensively commercially traded and the seed pods were even depicted on their coins. It also had a slew of other health benefits (Pliny the Elder wrote that it could be used as an antidote for poison, re-grow hair, cure leprosy, sore throats, etc.), and unfortunately, demand was larger than supply, and it was picked to extinction.

And why it’s associated with love – well, we all know what the heart feels like when you’re in love (or going through a breakup). No mystery there.

Time for the visual part of the post – my selection of some favorite heart charms and pendants:

Collage by Charms Guide

1. Sterling silver filigree heart charm by Rembrandt

2. Vintage (ca 1945) Walter Lampl sterling silver and enamel charm from Morning Glory Antiques.

3. 10k rose gold charm with set with a red stone (they label it garnet, then say it’s labradorite in the text. Red labradorite has been much debated and a source of both great controversy and lawsuits in the professional gem world. I just wanted to mention that so you can make an informed decision about the piece. Regardless of the quality of the stone, I like it, and I think it’s pretty, so I included it). From Sundance.

4. Sterling silver heart chakra charm from Shanti Boutique Fair Trade Designs

5. Tiny connected custom stamped brass hearts on a sterling silver chain by MomentusNY

6. Brass and silver-tone base metal charms by Fossil

7. Anatomical heart charm by Pnut.

8. 18k white gold and diamond heart charm necklace from Tiffany & Co.

9. Sterling silver, brass and resin pendant by Waxing Poetic.

10. Sterling silver, cubic zirconia and rhodolite dangle charm bead from Pandora.

All content: © Charms Guide